US stocks will be in focus today, with the commencement of the first-quarter earnings season.
Context: After posting a decline for most of the session, US stocks closed mixed on Monday. Although the Dow and S&P 500 declined, the Nasdaq posted gains and closed the session in positive territory. Investors are expecting a sluggish first-quarter earnings season, with most companies reporting declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Details: US markets remained closed on Friday, after finishing a strong week that saw the S&P 500 recording its biggest weekly gain since 1974.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the state and five others will be announcing their plans to reopen their economies, which have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow dropped 329 points to end at 23,390.77 on Monday, while the S&P 500 fell 1% to 2,761.63. The Nasdaq 100 turned positive in late trading, surging 0.5% to finish at 8,192.42.
Shares of Caterpillar fell more than 8% after Bank of America analyst downgraded the stock from neutral to underperform. Amazon’s stock climbed over 6% after the company announced plans to hire additional 75,000 employees.
On Sunday, the OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies) signed a deal that will reduce the global oil output by 9.7 million barrels per day starting May. After rising earlier in the session, WTI crude for May delivery fell 1.5% to settle at $22.41 per barrel.
Coronavirus continues to be the main focus among investors, with the total number of global cases close to 2 million. The number of positive cases in the US has exceeded 582,500 with around 23,640 deaths.
What to watch: Investors will be closely monitoring the daily coronavirus cases in the country. US stocks are expected to rise during the early session today, with stock futures pointing towards a higher start. The US is scheduled to report data on import and export prices later in the day. Import prices, which fell 0.5% in February, are expected to decline 3.2% in March. Export prices are expected to fall 1.9% in March, after a 1.1% decline in February.
Other Markets: European indices were trading mixed at 9:00am GMT, with the German 30 and French 40 up 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively. The FTSE 100 bucked the trend and was down 0.7%.